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    • I've been a fan of Louie Psihoyos for a long time as a National Geographic photographer and guy with a big conscience who wants to make a difference in the world. I loved seeing him win his Academy Award for Best Documentary, The Cove.

      I've also been fascinated for a long time with the competing theories of food as it applies to sports performance and health. It feels like 95% of the public believes protein is essential and the best source is meat. It also felt like 95% of credible food scientists believe the best source is plants.

      I don't know why more people aren't obsessed like I am because so much depends on it: Olympic medals, Superbowls, heart attacks, weight, erectile dysfunction — and even the macro question of why the majority of people believe something very different than what so many scientists believe.

      So when Louie agreed to direct Game Changers and James Cameron agreed to produce it, they had my attention. I've watched a lot of smaller budget docs on health like Forks Over Knives, but the big guns were coming to the party this time.

      The star of the show is actually former UFC fighter, James Wilks, who co-wrote and narrated it. I didn't expect him to be so knowledgeable and present so well. Seems like a perfect personna for the job because he's badass and likeable.

      In my opinion, the best parts of the film were like high school science class experiments. Great science teachers do fascinating demos in class you never forget. In this film, they took young, model-of-health pro athletes and fed them a burrito with either chicken or beef in it. Two hours later they took blood samples and centrifuged them to separate out the plasma and show how the fat bomb exploded into their bloodstream and created inflammatory markers.

      The next day they gave them bean burritos and showed them how dramatically different their blood became.

      They did the same, tastefully, with erections. I know, awkward, but it was a hilarious part of the film and super convincing.

      Plant based athletes like Tom Brady are beginning to turn heads with their performances and I loved that part of the film. They got to interview a lot of them. This guy was my hero, tho. He's 60 and does pullups like buttah:

    • I saw this a few years ago at Hot Docs festival. I agree it was convincing, but at the same time recognize that the demonstrations were pretty unscientific, so I’m slightly distrustful of it. Especially given the recent announcement that the existing studies about the impact of meat are too low grade to be reliable. On the other hand, I also figure there isn’t anything to lose by reducing meat intake, so why not give the benefit of the doubt.

    • I became quite preoccupied a while back with trying to do everything in my powers to live a healthier life. Who isn't? But each in our own ways. The only ones who aren't are in my opinion are those who in their cavalcade of daily life cannot afford to dedicate time and efforts to live as healthy as should be.. It is extremely difficult to trust any information on internet, or mass media. My personal belief is that it's all driven by either big food industry, or one smaller interest over another. Somewhere in there, there certainly could be a truth, but unfortunately it's all too blended or overly simplified, presented with emphasis on desired things.. I will say that eating just few days only vegetables even if with some dairy proteins, I am able to confirm the benefits, because I feel them! And that is the compass I try and follow.

    • I’m certainly not going to do everything I can lead a healthier life. I think there’s a balance between leading an enjoyable life and a healthy life, and each person has to find that for them self. The healthiest life possible sounds like a real chore to me. I’ll meet health somewhere in the middle, thanks.

    • That approach makes some sense to me, until a person loses their health (or their life!) due to a preventable illness.

      There are so many options within the umbrella of health that I don’t often find myself constrained. If I don’t enjoy running, I can hike or swim for exercise. If I think beets taste like dirt, I can find vegetables I prefer.

      Being sick isn’t enjoyable for me, so I’d rather feel stronger and more energetic and skip the junk food. As you said, everyone decides for themselves but I think many underestimate the burden their freedom of choice places on them in the form of joint pain, health care costs, chronic medication, etc.

    • That was an element of the movie I thought they handled well. Arnold Schwarzenegger pointed out that there has to be an easy, gradual way in to get to the level you are comfortable with — maybe just meatless Mondays, at least to start.

      The other thing was — especially for the football players and firemen — finding delicious, satisfying recipes.

    • Hopefully we are all past the addictions to taste of food, and the compromises we make get smaller and smaller as we age. But definitely not with junk food. That's the way I look at it. I didn't eat a steak in three weeks and really no longer crave it. Because really, on the surface, that's all the food gives us - taste and the sensory experience! My question is, does our body *know* when it's asking us to have steak that is something we *need* ? Doubtful, but not so easy to answer either, imho. Nutrition unfortunately can't be separated from our food primeval consumption experience and administered scientifically, not just yet, and perhaps won't happen in our lifetime.

    • As an athlete, I completely relate to the protagonists of the movie. What separates the best from the rest is a narrow margin of performance. Minutes, but often seconds is all it takes to get on the podium. I've been in these situations many times, losing and winning by seconds after hours and hours of racing.

      Fast recovery is the key to performance improvements. If the nutrients found in plants speed up recovery, then why not eat more of them?

      The most compelling parts of the documentary were from the evolutionary and archeological examples. Our digestive tracts are four times longer than those in carnivores (meat-eaters). It is similar to herbivores (plant-eaters). The teeth in our jaws evolved for grinding instead of shredding. Those evolutionary adaptations are there for a reason.

      The 7-day challenge that Rip Esselstyn proposed to his fellow firefighters doesn't sound like a massive undertaking. A week of healthy eating instead of yet another crash diet is worth trying, in my opinion.

    • What I remember most is the 7-day challenge for New York firefighters. The son of a prominent cardiologist and a firefighter himself had a statistic like 62% of firefighters who die in the line of duty die of a heart attack. I don’t remember the exact number, but it was high.

      They bought groceries for the firefighters and gave them recipes, took blood samples and weight, and had them return in 7 days to see how much things had changed. The changes were startling. The average drop in cholesterol was around 30 points, but firemen with elevated levels lost as much as 100 points during the week.

    • It is worth watching the rebuttal in this interview with the director of the documentary. He addresses the points of the criticism in great detail:

    • One thing I personally learned from discussing with friends who are medical doctors, was regarding cholesterol and the blood tests interpretations and advice, they often are quite different between EU and USA. This has always had me stop and think. And no, I am not a flat earth believer, just a person trying to see through the smoking mirrors put out by the money making machine of the so called "health industry".

    • One of the disturbing things about American health care is that the cardiology departments of hospitals are the #1 source of profitability, with bypass ops and stents being the overwhelming drivers. Imagine being a cardiologist and being able to charge $100K+ for bypass or $40K+ for stents, compared to trying to get your patients to eat better (~$0K). The thing is bypass ops and stents provide near-term relief but not long-term prevention.

      That's why I'm so impressed with surgeons like Caldwell Esselstyn in the film who forgo the revenue and spend so much time on prevention. It's like dentists who are willing to spend so much time working on prevention so you hang onto your original teeth instead of buying implants.

      The thing about documentary films like this is it's very rare to make money on them. The money, if there is any to be made, comes from monied interests who fund the film in hopes you vote for their issue or keep buying their sodas.

      It's hard to imagine a monied upside for this film because they want you to buy produce and there isn't much money in selling that. And none of them are involved in selling plant foods. I suppose you could imagine James Cameron had an agenda — the environment — but it's hard to see how he'd make his money back via this documentary by selling electric cars or solar panels.

    • The point that stuck out to me is all protein comes from plants. The animals pass it on, somewhat used, with a dose of toxicity added.

    • Thank you Chris! Just finished watching it. For me, the most shocking and compelling scenes are ones where blood test results indicate everyone's dramatic drops in cholesterol, as are their physical improvements. I love it how Arnold tells it! There just can't be any arguing against clear, measurable results like that. The anthropological and anatomical explanations make so much sense. The fact that so many successful and remarkable athletes took this route only helps reinforce the proof of this being a very rational thing to pursue.

    • Thanks, Dracula. There was one little trixsy thing they did for the sake of simplifying the story and that was to not get into refined plant food like Cheetos and donuts. Why this is significant is diets like Keto can produce good short term results in a meat-heavy protocol, because they nuke the cookies.

      What Game Changers did was to feed people whole plant food ingredients in their burritos — with meat and without. In our local high school, 20% of the girls are vegan and it sometimes means they stopped going to Taco Bell for lunch and instead go to Krispy Kreme and get donuts and Pepsis. They were better off going to Taco Bell and having some meat because at least the rest of it are things like beans.

    • I always take things such as health and financial advice with a grain of salt.. too bad so many seriously unhealthy food choices are still widely promoted without the risks clearly presented for general public's awareness. There would perhaps even come a time when donuts and cookies would get similar labeling as tobacco products did, but I guess we need to wait a while..

    • I just wish the world could know that heart disease and type 2 diabetes are food-borne illnesses that can be reversed through diet alone. When those words are spoken by even the top experts in the world who have data to back it up, it sounds too crazy to be true like it must be pseudo science so it never goes far.

      It reminds me of those two kooks from Australia who claimed ulcers were caused by stomach acid. Pheh. Everyone knew it was stomach acid. Buy some Rolaids. At least in that case they eventually found a dramatic experiment that proved the point and they got the Nobel Prize.

    • Deceit for profit, or for some kind of upperhand, whichever way they can, has always been attractive. There is so much "talk" on social media on topics so far out of league for so many, when in fact the decent thing to do would be admit dilettantism, and leave it to professionals to disseminate advice and information, in places where they actualy should do that.